In response to mounting protests over high prices and alleged food shortages in some states, the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, convened a high-level meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The closed-door session, attended by key government officials including the National Security Adviser, NSA, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and several ministers, addressed concerns surrounding food security and the recent demonstrations.
The meeting, held on Tuesday, saw the participation of prominent figures such as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Yemi Cardoso, and various ministers including those of Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning, and Agriculture, among others.
The discussions come amidst conflicting narratives between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition parties regarding the nature and motives behind the protests. While the APC accused the opposition of instigating anti-government demonstrations under the guise of addressing rising living costs, opposition parties countered, attributing the unrest to genuine grievances over economic hardships.
In a briefing following the meeting, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, conveyed President Bola Tinubu’s concern over the situation and disclosed that the President had directed the establishment of a Presidential Committee to address the issue. Emphasizing the government’s assurance of sufficient food supplies, Idris noted the role of certain elements exploiting high food prices and currency depreciation to foment unrest.
Acknowledging the protests in Minna, Niger State, and Kano, the government underscored its commitment to alleviating the populace’s plight. The Minister outlined immediate measures, including unlocking food reserves and enhancing distribution channels, to ensure food accessibility for Nigerians.
In response to accusations from the APC that the protests were politically motivated, opposition parties defended the demonstrators’ right to express dissatisfaction with prevailing economic conditions. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) criticized the APC for attempting to politicize legitimate grievances and urged the government to address the root causes of public discontent.
As the government seeks to quell unrest and address economic challenges, President Tinubu’s return from a private visit to France signals heightened attention to domestic affairs. With concerns over food security and rising living costs at the forefront, Nigerians await tangible solutions from the government to alleviate their hardships and restore stability.